Did a Monkey Really Knock a Race Car Driver From Second to Third Place?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about auto racing and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the hockey urban legends featured so far.

AUTO RACING URBAN LEGEND: A monkey once knocked a driver from second to third place in a race.

Tim Flock (1924-1998) was one of the best drivers in NASCAR history, and was on the earliest pioneers of NASCAR (which began having championships in 1949).

Flock was the National Champion in 1952 and 1955.

In 1953, Flock made news for an odder reason when he won a race at the Hickory Motor Speedway – with a monkey as his “co-driver”!

The monkey, known as Jocko Flocko, rode in the car with Flock. The whole thing was a big publicity stunt.

The monkey even had his own special uniform, with a number (#91)…

The publicity stunt went awry two weeks later, though, when Flock was racing in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Here’s Flock describing what happened:

Back then the cars had a trap door that we could pull open with a chain to check our tire wear. Well, during the Raleigh 300, Jocko got loose from his seat and stuck his head through the trap door, and he went berserk! Listen, it was hard enough to drive those heavy old cars back then under normal circumstances, but with a crazed monkey clawing you at the same time, it becomes nearly impossible! I had to come into the pits to put him out and ended up third. The pit stop cost me second place and a $600.00 difference in my paycheck. Jocko was retired immediately. I had to get that monkey off my back!

The legend is…

STATUS: True

Thanks to Tim Flock’s official website, timflock.com, for the quote and the Jocko Flocko pictures!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

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